Check keyhole before winter to save hundreds on energy bills

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Overseas property experts from revealed their top tips for ensuring properties are ready for autumn and winter, from making cheap and easy insulation fixes, to ensuring drains and gutters are clear.

Inspect your roof and chimneys

Water leaking in from a badly-maintained roof or chimney can not only damage the home and discolour the walls but can also allow the heat to escape.

“Even if everything seems fine now, all it takes is a heavy snowfall or a bad spell of wind and rain to dislodge tiles or mortar, allowing draughts and water to sneak into your home,” the experts noted.

People should check the inside and outside of the chimneys, make sure that the tiles on the roof are still firmly in place and that any flashing and pointing are still in good condition. If a house is properly insulated and without any draughts, homeowners will see their energy bills significantly reduced.

Make cheap and easy insulation fixes

A well-insulated home can help to significantly reduce energy bills, “but you don’t have to undertake expensive and intrusive repairs to make a noticeable difference,” the experts said.

Homeowners should simply ensure their keyhole has a purpose-made escutcheon with a fitted cover, and install a letterbox brush to prevent heat loss.

A keyhole escutcheon can be purchased on Amazon for £3 and a letterbox brush for less than £10.

“If you have gaps between the door and floor, a brush strip draught excluder will prevent heat from leaving, and the cold from coming into your home. If you have gaps between the door and its frame, you could fill it with fit foam or a brush strip draught excluder,” they recommended.

Bleed your radiators

Bleeding the radiators before using them ensures that hot water is circulating through the entire heating system, as it gets rid of pockets of air that stop the hot water from circulating efficiently.

The experts explained: “It’s not the same as draining or flushing your central heating system, but it is a quick and easy task that pretty much anyone can do.”

Keeping the radiators in good condition ensures they function efficiently, which can save hundreds on energy bills.

Get your boiler checked

Gas and oil boilers should be serviced once a year by a qualified heating engineer to ensure they’re operating as efficiently as possible.

The experts said: “This is especially important on the run up to winter, so you can avoid being caught out on a chilly morning. Engineers are notoriously busy during the colder months, so it’s best to get one booked sooner rather than later.”

Keeping the boiler in tip-top condition makes it work more efficiently while keeping the energy bills down.

The experts also shared essential home maintenance tasks homeowners should do now to avoid having to spend money on expensive repairs this winter.

Clear the gutters and drains

Falling autumn leaves might build up and block the water flow. Ideally, people “should clear the gutters and check them for damage at least once a year, but if they can do it before and after the autumn season, that’s even better”.

Tackle your niggling DIY list now

It is recommended people think about repairing broken gates and fence panels, filling in cracked render and replacing broken paving stones before winter.

The experts said: “Extreme weather in autumn and winter can cause what are now minor issues to become much bigger – and more expensive.”

Check and test your home security systems

Making sure your home is protected is particularly important. “Replace any rusty locks and test your home alarm system to ensure it’s working properly, including outdoor security lights.

“If you can, you could even place deterrents like dummy cameras,” the experts said.

Having an effective security system in place can save homeowners thousands of pounds by avoiding burglaries.

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